Timidus

Photograph © Bill Carslake (Cairngorms 2018)
Extract from Timidus, movement ii, piano score, sampled sounds

A Finzi Scholarship project. Inspired by Bill’s solo camping trips looking for mountain hares in Scotland. Timidus is from the Latin binomial for mountain hare. The piece is for violin, cello, piano and clarinet, and is in progress. Bill also wrote a travel account about composing with mountain hares in the Cairngorms

Over the course of his trips in the Cairngorms Bill became attuned to these elusive animals. He also saw golden eagle and red deer. Timidus is inspired by the tensions between the communities that co-exist in the vast sub-arctic tundra landscape that is the Cairngorms. The second movement explores the power of the wind (listen to the extract above).

While in the Cairngorms area Bill was lucky to meet with Scott Newey – a population ecologist from the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen; Andy Howard, photographer and author of The Secret Life of the Mountain Hare; and the writer, Anna Fleming.  

The mountain hare, Lepus timidus, is a survivor from the last ice age. It is related to Arctic and Greenland hares. It thrives in the northern belt stretching from Scandinavia to Siberia. There are isolated communities in the Alps, Ireland and Scotland. In the case of Ireland and Scotland, when the ice sheet retreated the mountain hares evolved into two unique species: Lepus timidus hibernicus and Lepus timidus scoticus. All mountain hares are different from the brown hare, Lepus europaeus, which arrived in Ireland and the UK thousands of years later.


More Pieces from Places

Icicle

Written to raise the profile of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for ‘The Singing Glacier’. For violin, viola and glockenspiel.
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The Singing Glacier

A collaborative response to glaciers. In 2016 Bill went to East Greenland with poet Helen Mort for a climbing expedition. They were joined by film-maker Richard Jones.
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The Singing Glacier

Photograph © H. Spenceley, Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides (Greenland expedition 2016)
Violin, Flora Curzon; voice, Helen Mort; piano, Bill Carslake

A collaborative response to glaciers in East Greenland.

Commissioned by The Little Baroque Company to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

In 2016  Bill went to Kulusuk, East Greenland with the poet Helen Mort for an exploratory climbing expedition. They were joined later by the film-maker Richard Jones.

The piece combines instrumental music by Bill, new poetry written and spoken by Helen and film taken by Richard and others in the team.

It has been performed live at Poetry in Aldeburgh and Totally Thames festivals, the Daniel Corkery Summer School, the Manchester Metropolitan University Place Writing Festival and featured on the RAH! Podcast at Manchester Metropolitan University.  There are versions for 12 piece baroque orchestra, 4 piece baroque orchestra, and – as featured here – modern violin with piano.

This recording features Flora Curzon on modern violin and Bill on piano. It reprises their performance with Helen at the Daniel Corkery Summer School in 2017.

In 2019 Hercules Editions published Helen’s poems as The Singing Glacier, including a conversation between Helen and Bill, some of the musical score, paintings by  Emma Stibbon RA, and an essay by the literary geographer, David Cooper.

The Singing Glacier also exists as a schools education project including: word and poetry challenges devised by Helen, two Greenlandic bone games purchased in Kulusuk, musical composition games devised by Bill, and the short film below, created by Richard to inspire children (and adults!) featuring Matt and Helen Spenceley, our amazing guides from Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides.

Short film about the context of The Singing Glacier, featuring Helen and Matt Spenceley of Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides.


More Pieces from Places

Icicle

Written to raise the profile of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for ‘The Singing Glacier’. For violin, viola and glockenspiel.
Read More

Timidus

Finzi Scholarship project inspired by mountain hares. ‘Timidus’ is from the binomial for mountain hare. For violin, cello, piano, clarinet. Bill also wrote a travel account.
Read More

Icicle

Photograph © H. Spenceley, Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides (Greenland expedition 2016)
Violin, Helen Kruger; viola, Virginia Slater; keyed glockenspiel, Bill Carslake

Written to raise the profile of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for The Singing Glacier. For violin, viola and glockenspiel (keyed or normal). There is an additional performance option for this piece. After the second time through it can be repeated many times. Each time, more notes are omitted, at the players’ discretion. This can be partnered by a small ice block (or ice sculpture) placed above a cymbal on a stand, so that the drips fall onto the cymbal surface.


More Pieces from Places

The Singing Glacier

A collaborative response to glaciers. In 2016 Bill went to East Greenland with poet Helen Mort for a climbing expedition. They were joined by film-maker Richard Jones.
Read More

Timidus

Finzi Scholarship project inspired by mountain hares. ‘Timidus’ is from the binomial for mountain hare. For violin, cello, piano, clarinet. Bill also wrote a travel account.
Read More

The Duel of the White-necked Ravens

Photograph © Paddy Ryan (white-necked raven above Mt Kilimanjaro)
Extracts from The Duel of the White-necked Ravens. Piano, Sarah Latto; soprano solo, Catherine Shaw

In 2014 Bill walked up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. While sitting beside his tent below the summit he watched three pairs of white-necked ravens duelling mid-flight. This included them flying in mirror formation – one upside down under the other – parting, then soaring directly towards each other before clasping talons mid-air. This aerial display in the oxygen-poor air at c. 5800 m left a lasting impression and inspired the poem, Thin Air Living. He set this for SATB choir, solo soprano and solo piano for a commission from King’s School, Worcester.


More Pieces from Places

Icicle

Written to raise the profile of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for ‘The Singing Glacier’. For violin, viola and glockenspiel.
Read More

The Singing Glacier

A collaborative response to glaciers. In 2016 Bill went to East Greenland with poet Helen Mort for a climbing expedition. They were joined by film-maker Richard Jones.
Read More

Timidus

Finzi Scholarship project inspired by mountain hares. ‘Timidus’ is from the binomial for mountain hare. For violin, cello, piano, clarinet. Bill also wrote a travel account.
Read More